General Synod – Saturday 11 June

June 11, 2016

Following Morning Worship led by Mr John Davies, Convener of the Liturgy Committee, the final day of General Synod 2016 got underway with the Information and Communication Board session which had been moved from Friday’s agenda following the over-running of the debate on the Canon on Marriage.

In his overview of the Church and the way it communicates The Rev Chris Mayo, Convener of the Information and Communication (I&C) Board, offered the words of the monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh ‘When we say something that nourishes us and uplifts the people around us, we are feeding love and compassion. When we speak and act in a way that causes tension and anger, we are nourishing violence and suffering’ and said “Whilst I do not wish to construct a systematic theology of communication, surely there is a core point, theological and spiritual, that as members of the body of Christ we have a responsibility to nourish compassion rather than suffering in the words we offer in the public domain? Ultimately the I&C board wishes to encourage and develop a culture of communication where words resonate with integrity, and the hope of the Gospel whilst simultaneously remembering the need to understand through deep listening: when one’s words do not add to the beauty of silence, one should remain silent, as the old saying goes.

“It is precisely for this reason that prior to moving ahead with an updated communications strategy, the board at the upcoming residential meeting will ask how Christ is calling this Church to nourish itself and the Scotland we serve with compassion and love and actually challenge a prevailing culture of violence and suffering.”

Chris asked Synod members to encourage people within their dioceses to share their stories of mission with the I&C Board and reported on the positive feedback the Board has received on inspires magazine.

Dr John Ferguson-Smith, Convener of the Administration Board, provided an overview of the work of the Board, explaining that following the decisions by Synod last year to transfer responsibility for providing Mission and Ministry Support Grants to the Mission Board there was no longer a need for the Finance Committee, and the Rev Frances Burberry was thanked for her convenership of the Finance Committee. The Motion seeking the dissolution of the Finance Committee was then passed. Dr Ferguson-Smith  explained that a new group was being formed to oversee the new Building Grants Fund and that it would report directly to the Board.

The Motion that the Retirement Welfare Committee change its name to the Retirement Housing Committee was carried.

Mrs Maureen McKellar highlighted some of the work of the Personnel Committee and advised that further resources would be made available on the Scottish Episcopal Church website later this year to address a range of clergy personnel matters.

Members of the Provincial Youth Network presented a range of moving and inspiring presentations which highlighted the special spiritual place that the annual ‘Glen’ youth camps have in the lives of those who have attended them over the years. Synod heard examples of how young people in the Church are energised and encouraged by the work of the Provincial Youth Committee and being part of its network.

Clare Benton Evans, Youth Officer for Edinburgh Diocese, spoke about the importance for young people in having the opportunity to be engaged, involved and have a voice in the Church. The Youth Committee session was concluded by a presentation from its Convener, the Rev Tembu Rongon, who said that young people need to feel included and valued by their church.

As part of the presentation from the Global Partnerships Committee Rachael Fraser reported on her attendance on behalf of the Scottish Episcopal Church at the 60th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, describing it as an “inspiring, faith affirming and transforming experience” and suggested to Synod that young people are not the future of the Church, they are a present part of the Church and encouraged congregations to listen to young people’s views and their hopes for the Church and Society . Rachael has been invited by the World Council of Churches to take on a role of working with faith based organisations and human rights advocacy.

Mr Robert Gordon, Convener of the Standing Committee, brought the business of General Synod 2016 to a close in his presentation of the Accounts, Budget and Quota.

The Primus confirmed the Acts of Synod and closed the meeting of General Synod 2016.